When the time comes to move to a care home, all families want their relatives to be cared for as they would be by their loving family, particularly for those living with dementia. Many people wonder what to do next when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia and how best to care for them. Here we share the story of a family’s search for a care home that would provide a caring haven for their beloved mother, Laura.
Laura Isabella Sharpe was born on 12 June 1928. Laura has lived a full life largely concentrating on her family, husband Geoffrey and daughters Kathleen and Barbara. She left school at 14 years of age and for a time worked in Accounts in a firm in Nottingham. Her heart, though, lay in agriculture and the countryside and because of her father’s ill health she was soon working on the family farm in Strelley, Nottinghamshire. She has a natural affinity with animals, cows being her definite favourite.
When her husband Geoffrey passed away in December 2000, Laura continued to cope alone in their home in Southwell, visiting her daughter each weekend. As time moved on, Isabel, Laura’s granddaughter, had a family of three daughters. They decided that Isabel’s family, Laura and her daughter Barbara should buy a property together, giving Laura the security of close family that we felt she needed.
The whole family moved to Stapleford, Lincolnshire in October 2006 and settled down. However, it became apparent after a few years that Laura’s mental health was deteriorating, and she was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. The family coped as best they could but later the truly heart-breaking decision was taken to place Laura in a Care Home. The family had struggled considerably to help Laura, but the time had come when they felt she needed (and deserved) more professional care. Each of Laura’s hips was broken in separate incidents, one with almost tragic results and the family felt that the care of three successive Homes had left a lot to be desired. The family were deeply saddened at this and were desperate to find a Care Home that could offer real ‘care’ of the type she would have received from her loving family.
As her family explain; “We were at a point of desperation. Then Eccleshare Court Care Home came highly recommended by a friend and so we went along to view, thinking despondently, that it would be just more of the same. How wrong we were and how delighted we felt at the end of our visit.”
“For the first time in years, our collective shoulders ‘relaxed’ - we were certain that this time we had found ‘the’ Home for Laura. Spotlessly clean, sincerely kind and tender Carers, it has beautiful surroundings offering stimulation and the food is beyond comparison.”
“The dedicated Activity Team keeps all of the residents busy, amused and cared for, no one is left out, and there is a real feeling of love at Eccleshare Court. The Manager, Susannah Barker-Milan, carefully and sympathetically steered us through the whole process of moving Mum (who was hospitalised at the time) and at the same time relieved us of the tremendous amount of stress we were under worrying so much about Laura.”
“Susannah has superior knowledge and understanding of Dementia and is a dedicated leader to her Team. It is quite clear that Susannah has love and understanding for the ladies and gentlemen in her care and she has provided a safe and caring haven for the residents and is to be congratulated.”
Susannah has over 25 years of experience working in health and social care, spending the last 10 years specializing in dementia care. She has spent some of her career working with the renowned Bradford Dementia Group at the University of Bradford, leading on the ground-breaking Dementia Care Mapping in Supported Living project. She has also lectured at Lincoln University on specialist dementia care.